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10 Observations from the LMU game

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16-0!

NCAA Basketball: Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Good primer for the Zags ahead of the Saint Mary’s clash on Saturday:

  1. Let’s get this one out of the way right off the bat, the crowd didn’t bring any juice to the game last night. It was so quiet you could hear every word on the court from both players and coaches. It was both eerie and annoying, and Dan Dickau rightly expressed his dismay at the situation during the broadcast and on Twitter following the game. I understand the atmosphere isn’t the same when the students are away on break and LMU may not be the most exciting opponent to ever grace the court, but the Kennel should never be a comfortable place to play for opponents. Last night felt more like a televised scrimmage than an actual contest between two conference foes.
  2. I found it odd that Petr Herman started this game in place of Stefan Jovanovic for LMU. Jovanovic has been a solid contributor for the Lions all season, and made the most sense as a sacrifice to Przemek Karnowski. He ended up coming on a few minutes into the game, so either it was one of those Florida State style punishments where a player doesn’t get to start a game for breaking a team rule or the law, or Mike Dunlap wanted to get him on against Gonzaga’s second string frontcourt. Either way, it didn’t work out that well for the Lions, or for Jovanovic who finished the game with just 2 points on 1-9 shooting.
  3. The first half featured something you don’t see often, Gonzaga getting hit with a 10-second halfcourt violation. Perkins was bringing up the ball and despite minimal pressure (none), failed to get the ball across the halfcourt line in time. That play won’t go in the highlight reel.
  4. Despite Gonzaga being the second best team in the country at defending the 3-point line, and LMU being not one of the best teams in the country at shooting from the 3-point line, the Lions hit 3 of their first 4 attempts from deep and made 6-12 overall from the arc in the first half.
  5. To go along with the proficiency from deep, LMU also out-rebounded Gonzaga (22-18) in the first half. And, despite forcing 10 LMU turnovers (some of them really ghastly) in the first 20 minutes, the Zags failed to capitalize and only recorded 7 points off those turnovers. If you were wondering how the game stayed close in the first half, that’s how.
  6. There was some really exquisite ball movement from Gonzaga in this game. My favorite started with a wing entry pass from Silas Melson to Karnowski. The big man immediately felt the double coming from behind him in the form of the weakside guard’s (Nigel Williams-Goss) man. Karnowski immediately made an excellent cross court pass to Nigel in the weakside corner, who swung it to Perkins at the top who then made the extra pass back to a now wide-open Melson (the defense was well scrambled by this point) who was still standing at the same spot on the wing where the initial entry pass was made. Melson sank the trey and the heavens rejoiced at the beauty of the sequence.
  7. This was the rare game where Zach Collins finished with a sub-50% shooting percentage (4-13), as the only other game he finished below 50% was against Florida during the AdvoCare Invitational. He still made a massive contribution with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 big blocks coming during the same possession, the last of which forced a shot clock violation.
  8. LMU came out of a timeout—presumably a play was diagrammed and discussed—and promptly turned the ball over on a shot clock violation. This is why you see so many bald basketball coaches.
  9. Not one of Killian Tillie’s better nights as the young frenchman managed to foul out in just 6 minutes of game time. At least his legs will be fresh for the Gaels on Saturday night.
  10. Rui continued his streak of one incredible dunk in each game he’s played. His coast-to-coast slam managed to wake up the entire crowd too, which I think makes him a miracle worker.